Nevada quest launched for 2022 winter Olympics


The long-running quest to bring a Winter Olympics to Northern Nevada has geared up for another attempt.

A team from the Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition, headed by Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, will spend the spend the next couple of days at U.S. Olympic Committee workshops and meetings in Colorado Springs, Colo., as the part of the nascent push to land the 2022 games. But very little is settled at this point, from where to build a hockey arena to whether the U.S. will even submit a bid.

Reno boosters were pushing for the 2018 Olympics as recently as two years ago, but the U.S. Committee decided not to submit a bid for either that or the 2020 summer games.

In a report to the Nevada Commission on Tourism Wednesday, Krolicki remained upbeat.

"This is probably one of the most fulfilling and intriguing prospects I have been involved with," he said. Given some of the recent developments, he added, "The planets are aligning."

Recently, members of a committee that tried unsuccessfully to bring the summer games to the San Francisco Bay Area formally joined with Reno as part of what is shaping up as a bi-state effort. He also hopes that the USOC decision to pass on bids for 2018 and 2020, after the failed bid for Chicago in 2016 that included a personal plea by President Barack Obama, will increase the chances of moving ahead for 2022.

The Nevadans will go against a group from Denver and perhaps other cities.

The Reno coalition, with four officers and two dozen board members, many of them Reno-area business people, was incorporated at a non-profit in 2003, according to tax filings. It had been preceded by an organizing committee incorporated a decade earlier that eventually dissolved.

The 1960 Winter Olympics were staged in Squaw Valley, on the California side of Lake Tahoe, an event that help raise the area's tourism profile. The most recent American winter games came in Salt Lake City in 2002.

That is what Krolicki holds up as a template for how Nevada would approach it. The Olympics that year cost about $1.3 billion, he said, but TV revenues, ticket sales and corporate sponsorships covered the entire bill and left a surplus.

"This is not going to be put on the taxpayers," he said. "This is a solution that will involve all interested parties."

At this point, he said, venues have been identified for many of the outdoor events, particularly skiing, although they may need alterations to meet Olympic standards. Events such as bobsledding will need to be build from scratch.

Perhaps the highest-priced items would be the two pieces of ice for indoor events, including hockey and figure skating. Krolicki said different options are being examined, including constructing an arena as far away as Sacramento, Calif.

Contact reporter Tim O'Reiley at toreiley@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290.

 

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